Parents anger over Thornton school teacher suspension silence
A headteacher has defended the timing of a letter to parents explaining the departure of a former teacher convicted of child sex offences.
David Michael Ruaux, who taught history at Millfield Science and Performing Arts College, in Thornton, from September 2015 until July 2017, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children at Bolton Crown Court in April. None of the offences involved pupils at the school.
But parents have criticised the decision not to inform them until a letter was sent out yesterday – 11 months after Ruaux was suspended from duty.
Both the school and Lancashire County Council said the proper process was followed once they were made aware of the investigation into the 53-year-old, of Gresley Avenue, Horwich, back in July.
In the letter sent to parents from headteacher Sean Bullen yesterday morning, it said the school had been advised by Lancashire County Council not to inform parents ‘unless it was clear that the issue was becoming public knowledge’.
County Hall said it was not its policy to release details of such cases until after investigations are completed to avoid damaging the reputation of someone who may later be found not guilty.
One concerned father, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “As a parent, I was told nothing. Year 10 and 11 pupils were passing articles around on Snapchat telling each other.
“The first time I was told by the school was today (Tuesday). Questions need to be answered.”
Mr Bullen told The Gazette: “Last July the police brought an issue to my attention regarding concerns about Mr Ruaux. We suspended Mr Ruaux immediately. He has not been in the building since that point.
“Mr Ruaux obviously no longer works at Millfield. The police have categorically assured us that none of the incidents covered in their investigation relate to pupils at Millfield.
“We always look to act in the best interests of the students.”
The letter to parents adds that no issues had been raised when the school carried out the necessary background checks when Ruaux was appointed in 2015.
Ruaux was sentenced on April 23 to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said the headteacher had followed the standard procedure for the situation by suspending Ruaux immediately after being contacted by police and not allowing him any further contact with the school.